Cord Blood Banking | 7 Reasons to Bank Children's Stem Cells
Cord Blood Banking | 7 Reasons to Store Your Blood Today
Cord Blood Banking
7 Reasons to store you baby umbilical cord blood
1. Cord blood collection is simple and safe
The cord blood is a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells and can be collected easily, without any risk for the mother or the newborn baby.
The cord blood stem cell collection is a simple procedure that is performed by specially trained medical staff and can also be performed during Caesarian section.
The samples, once cryopreserved, are capable of being stored indefinitely and therefore used at any point during the individual's lifetime. In fact, umbilical cord blood can be stored cryopreserved for >20 years with an efficient recovery of hematopoietic stem cells.
It is important to underline that the cord blood samples, called "cord blood units (CBUs)" will be collected and stored following standard procedures. Moreover, since all testing has been completed, cryopreserved CBU is an 'off-the-shelf' product.
The methodology for cryopreservation has been developed over time. Basically, UCB is processed and stored in nitrogen to maintain the viability and potential of the cell product. Upon demand, stem cells contained in the cord blood unit can be sent to the transplant centres, so that the patients can be treated without any delays.
2. Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat more than 80 diseases
Cord blood stem cells have been used to treat more than 80 different diseases including some cancers, blood disorders and immune deficiencies. Among these are leukaemia, aplastic anaemia, Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Cord blood transplants are also accepted as a treatment for sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia and inherited blood disorders that are predominant in certain ethnic groups. Moreover, they are used to treat rare metabolic disorders that would otherwise be fatal for infants such as Krabbe disease and Sanfilippo syndrome.
Umbilical cord blood has been also used for the treatment of non-hematopoietic disorders. This increasing attention in umbilical cord blood implementation has been reflected in an increasing amount of ongoing clinical trials.
In fact, there are ongoing clinical investigations of cord blood for other diseases that are not traditionally treated with HSCs transplantation, such as those related to tissue regeneration (nervous system, pancreas, etc.) (Table 2). Therefore, some clinical studies are in progress to test the efficacy of these cell in the treatment of cerebral palsy, autism, hydrocephalus, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, congenital heart defects, spinal cord injuries, heart failure, stroke and neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis. According to ongoing clinical trials, over the following few years, the list of diseases that can be treated with cord blood stem cells will grow several times.
Store umbilical cord blood stem cells are better than bone marrow stem cells
The following are the advantages of using umbilical cord blood stem cells over bone marrow stem cells for transplants:
a) Less time needed for processing (more quickly available for use), they can be simply isolated and stored for later usage; cord blood stem cells are relatively easy to process and collect (ample availability and the easy and safe modality of the collection of the cells for transplant);
b) Cord blood requires less stringent tissue-type matching between the potential recipient and donor than is required for bone marrow donors;
c) Reduced risk of transmission of viral infection. Cytomegalovirus infections can have devastating effects in profoundly immunosuppressed bone marrow transplant recipients. The incidence of CMV antibody positivity in the BM donor population is approximately the same as the general population. However, in the neonatal population CMV infection has a very low incidence and thus the risk of CMV transmission from a CB donor to a recipient is correspondingly low.
d) Graft versus host disease is a complication of stem cell transplants in which the donor's immune cells destroy the patient's healthy tissues. Cord blood has a lower incidence and severity of acute and chronic GVHD than bone marrow. In fact, GVHD has been shown to be less severe in CB recipients than BM donor recipients; this means that mismatches can be better tolerated from a CB donor. This is due to the fact that the relative immaturity of the immune cells present in umbilical cord blood reduces the matching requirement. Therefore, the patient's chance of finding a suitable donor is greatly increased;
e) Cord blood stem cells have a higher proliferative potential than bone marrow stem cells. Therefore, a fewer number of cells are required to recapitulate hematopoiesis, a process by which cellular elements of blood, such as erythrocytes, leukocytes, lymphocytes, natural killer cells and platelets are generated;
f) Since CBSCs are isolated in advance and banked, samples were immediately tested for HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne infections, eliminating the long delay that is inherent to the use of bone marrow;
g) Research studies of cord blood transplant outcomes, including transplants with two or more cord blood units, show promising results in regenerative medicine.
3. Cord Blood is an alternative source of stem cells for hematopoietic and immunologic reconstitution of patients that do not have matched related donors
CB contains immune cells that are immature; as a result, transplants can be performed without 'perfect' human leukocyte antigen (HLA) matching between donor and recipient with an acceptable incidence of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The ability to use partially matched CB grafts significantly increases the probability of finding suitable units for patients. Thus, if the older sibling is ill and the mother is pregnant at the time, your doctor may recommend collecting cord blood for the needs of siblings. The collecting and storing cord blood for a family member (family member banking) may be recommended for a newborn who has a sibling with a disease that can be successfully treated with haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).
4. Cord Blood Stem Cells can be used not only to treat hematologic diseases (blood disorders) but also to treat a wide variety of diseases including cardiovascular, ophthalmic, orthopaedic, endocrine and neurologic diseases
Cord blood, like bone marrow and peripheral blood, contains blood-forming cells, also known as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), that can produce all cell types found in blood such as red cells, white cells and platelets. For this reason, they have been used for several years in bone marrow transplants to treat people who have certain types of cancer and conditions including lymphoma, leukaemia, multiple myeloma, haemoglobinopathies, anaemias, myelodysplasia aplastic anaemia and myeloproliferative diseases. Therefore, cord blood stem cells have long been considered as a rich source of hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells for transplantation. However, recently, cord blood has moved from its usual hematologic applications to the field of regenerative medicine, a branch of translational research that seeks to replace diseased or damaged human tissues using cell-based technologies.
In fact, the past clinical experience has suggested that cord blood stem cells can differentiate into cell types other than blood and immune cells. Several researches and clinical trials have shown that cord blood stem cells can regenerate numerous tissue types when transplanted into humans. Therefore, cord blood stem cells can also be successfully used for the repair or regeneration of non-hematopoietic tissues such as the repair of heart, nerves, pancreas, etc.
Cord blood stem cells can regenerate several tissue types because it contains several cellular populations with varying degrees of ability. The stem cells within cord blood include hematopoietic (HSCs), endothelial, epithelial and more importantly mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs are very important for the formation of a person's nervous system, circulatory tissues, sensory organs, skin, cartilage, bone and several other tissues. Therefore, in future, cord blood stem cells could be also used to treat a wide variety of diseases including cardiovascular, ophthalmic, orthopaedic, neurologic, endocrine diseases and many others.
5. Cord blood can be used for autologous or allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT)
Allogeneic and autologous stem cell transplants are different procedures
with different clinical indications. Cord blood may serve as a stem cell source of autologous (patient's own haematopoietic stem cells) or allogeneic HSC transplantation (collected from a related donor/sibling/ family member). They are used to treat a particular disease where the underlying disease process does not involve the bone marrow such as neuroblastomas, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, aplastic anaemia and certain types of cancer including Ewing sarcoma, Wilms tumour, medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma, breast and testicular cancer. Today, own cord blood stem cells are also being used in clinical trials (studies that explore whether a treatment is safe and effective for humans) for the treatment of cerebral palsy, autism, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, acute burns and more.
In an allogeneic transplant, stem cells are collected from a donor and transplanted into the patient. Allogeneic transplants use healthy donor hematopoietic stem cells from an unaffected tissue-matched relative, most often a sibling. Allogeneic transplants are indicated in the treatment of high-risk acute and chronic leukaemia, bone marrow failure syndromes such as severe aplastic anaemia, haemoglobinopathies, relapsed leukaemia and lymphoma.
6. The entire family could be treated with a stem cell transplant
The chance of any sibling being a full human leukocyte antigen
match to another sibling is 25%, (because of the inheritance of HLA) and this chance increases with the number of siblings. The use of HLA-matched related cord blood units (CBUs) may reduce the risk of GVHD and improve transplant outcomes over the use of unrelated cord blood transplantation.
Therefore, cord blood can be used for the treatment of a sibling of the donor.
Cord blood you banked will be stored for you, thus if your child or a family member require a transplant later, you can easily use them. Moreover, if a sibling will develop a treatable condition, it could be possible to treat the condition with the newborn's stem cells. More importantly, in the near future, cord blood you stored at the time of birth may be used to treat a family member with the newest types of treatment. Indeed, studies in patients with leukaemia suggest that rates of GVHD following related cord blood transplants may be less than rates following unrelated cord blood transplantation.
7. Umbilical cord blood stem cells save lives
People decide to store their baby's cord blood for possible medical use in the future. At the moment, the medical technology only accepts stem cells from cord blood to treat hematologic diseases. However, the prospect is that medical technology will continue to advance and that the stored cord blood will be utilised for other purposes in the near future such as to repair tissues and organs.